Brush Up On Brushing: The Top 5 Brushing Mistakes

Toothpaste being placed onto a blue and white toothbrush

To most adults, brushing our teeth is second nature. Most people have a routine that they follow every day that involves brushing their teeth in the morning and at night. But patients have picked up bad brushing habits that are keeping them from optimum oral health. Improper dental care can lead to a decline in health, and nobody wants to end up in the dentist’s chair more often than they need to be! At Summit Family And Cosmetic Dentistry we are dedicated to helping you develop good habits to protect your oral health.

Brushing Mistake 1: Using The Wrong Toothbrush

The toothbrush aisle can be overwhelming, as most stores carry a massive variety of different brands and styles. A lot of our Florence patients tell us that they really don’t know what type of toothbrush they should look for and end up grabbing one at random.

Don’t let this mistake keep you from choosing the right brush. When shopping, use these guidelines to help you make your selection:

Size – Choose a toothbrush with a head that fits your mouth. If you have a smaller mouth and find it difficult to reach every corner and side of your teeth with your toothbrush, opt for a brush with a small head.
Bristles – Dr. Griffin recommends soft-bristled toothbrushes to all of his patients. Brushes with medium and hard bristles are dangerous, as they can damage your enamel and gum tissue. Most toothbrush packaging will indicate the bristle texture.
Handle – Choose a handle that fits comfortably in your hand, kind of like a fork. Patients with smaller hands may want to look for thin or small brushes.

Brushing Mistake 2: Not Brushing Long Enough

Maybe you’re already aware that you’re making this mistake. In the morning rush or late at night, it’s not unusual to want to quickly drag the toothbrush across your teeth and move on. This is a huge mistake, however, and can lead to adverse consequences down the line. Dr. Griffin recommends that his patients brush their teeth for 2 minutes twice per day in order to give each section of their mouth the proper amount of attention and care.

2 minutes may not seem like a long time, but when you’re standing in front of the bathroom mirror, it can feel more like 10. Find a song or music video around 2 minutes long to play while you brush. The time goes by quicker when you have something to focus on. Most electric toothbrushes are automated to run for 2 minutes at a time as well, taking the guesswork out of your brushing time.

Brushing Mistake 3: Overdoing It

While it may seem like a good idea initially, brushing your teeth too much can be almost as harmful as not brushing enough. Brushing more than 3 times per day can wear down your tooth enamel and damage your gums, leading to tooth decay and gingivitis. Yes, that’s right—brushing your teeth too much can cause cavities!

Plaque is so soft that it can actually be removed with a rag if you can reach it. Thoroughness is more important than toughness when it comes to brushing. Doing it 2 or 3 times per day for two minutes at a time combined with flossing and regular dentist visits is usually enough to keep your teeth healthy, bright and white.

Brushing Mistake 4: Using The Wrong Toothpaste

Choosing The Right ToothpasteNot all toothpaste is created equal. There’s different toothpaste for different goals, so it’s important to choose a type that suits your individual needs.

Tartar Control – If your teeth are prone to buildup and you’re looking to keep them free of plaque, choose a tartar control toothpaste. Tartar control works to protect the teeth and gums from gathering harmful plaque that causes tooth decay.
Whitening – Pearly-whites not looking so pearly? Consider a whitening toothpaste. These brands generally contain a small amount of bleaching agents that work to rid your teeth of the yellowing stains.
Desensitizing – Patients with sensitive teeth often find success with desensitizing toothpaste. Utilizing chemical compounds that block the minuscule holes in the enamel, desensitizing toothpaste can keep your teeth from stinging when they come in contact with hot or cold foods and drinks.
Children’s – When shopping for your children’s dental health, make sure to choose a toothpaste that suits their unique needs. Choose a paste with a smaller amount of fluoride than your own, as too much fluoride could actually damage their delicate teeth. Select a flavor that they enjoy as well so brushing their teeth feels less like a chore and more like a treat. Keep toothpaste out of reach, as your young children may want to eat it! Remember, before your child turns 2, choose a toothpaste without fluoride.

Brushing Mistake 5: Overusing Your Toothbrush

A lot of patients neglect to change their toothbrush out when it’s time. If your brush is looking frayed and broken, toss it in the trash and get yourself a new one. Frayed bristles will not clean as effectively as tight ones, allowing plaque and bacteria to remain on your teeth. Plus, worn bristles can actually damage your delicate gum tissue, creating an entire host of problems that you certainly want to avoid.

Most dentists recommend changing your brush out every 3 months, but if your bristles are looking frayed before that, do your teeth a favor and change it out.

Visit Summit Family And Cosmetic Dentistry For More Tips

Who knew that brushing your teeth could be so complicated? It’s a habit that most of us learned when we were young, so it may come as a surprise that you’re doing it wrong. Luckily, Dr. López at Summit Family And Cosmetic Dentistry in Spokane is here to help you kick your brushing faux pas to the curb to get your dental health back on track. If you have any more questions or want to see if you need to brush up on your brushing, make an appointment with our office today!